The first-place Astros are all-in, and they called up two of the top prospects from their stacked system this week to supplement a roster that has already proven very capable.
Carlos Correa, the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball, was promoted from Triple-A and made his major-league debut on Monday. In four games this week, he has gone 5-for-16 with two homers, a double and stolen base. He's showing the impressive power and speed that had been on display in the minors, where he had 34 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 53 games this season.
Even as a 20-year-old who's liable to take his lumps, Correa needs to be owned in almost all leagues due to the dearth of quality hitters at shortstop.
Two days after Correa's debut, we got our first look at Vincent Velasquez, whose straight-up nasty arsenal prompted the Astros to call him up after just five starts at Double-A. The right-hander delivered five scoreless innings against the White Sox in his first start.
He's not a must-add like Correa, as his lack of control might be a limitation (he issued four walks and needed 90 pitches to get through five innings against a lousy Chicago lineup) but he offers huge upside in the strikeout department.
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* It appeared that another of the game's brightest prospects might be on the way up, with Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti hinting that Francisco Lindor was being considered for a call-up, but the 21-year-old shortstop is dealing with some minor injuries that have stalled his timeline slightly. With Jose Ramirez sent to the minors last weekend and Mike Aviles filling in temporarily, it's only a matter of time before Lindor gets the call. He's been red-hot in Triple-A despite his health concerns, with a .400 average in June.
* Ramirez wasn't the only member of the left side of Cleveland's infield to get demoted this week. Lonnie Chisenhall was optioned to Triple-A on Monday with a .209/.241/.345 slash line through 52 games. The third baseman simply hasn't been able to replicate the success he enjoyed in 2014, when he posted a 770 OPS with 13 homers and 59 RBI. Giovanny Urshela was called up to take over at third, and should be fine defensively, but he offers little with the stick.
* We have our first no-hitter of the 2015 season, and it's the fourth in as many years for the San Francisco Giants. Chris Heston served up the no-no against a weak Mets lineup on Tuesday, striking out 11 and walking none (though he did hit three batters). The rookie has been wildly inconsistent this year, making him hard to trust, but this is another reminder that he's capable of greatness.
* The MLB Draft took place this week, ushering a huge collection of young talent into the pro ranks. The top two selections were both college shortstops, with Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson going to Arizona and LSU's Alex Bregman going to Houston. Both players have advanced bats and could move quickly, but we won't see either this year.
* It's tough to know what to make of the closer situation in North Side Chi-town. Hector Rondon opened the season in the role, but in recent weeks there has been a revolving door for save chances, with Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte all getting chances.
Complicating matters further, the Cubs signed free agent Rafael Soriano this week. He's expected to report to the minors but should be in line for a fairly quick promotion. Soriano is 35 and hasn't pitched this year, so there are no guarantees, but he has 207 career saves, and notched a career-high 45 under Joe Maddon in Tampa in 2010.
* The Yankees ominously placed their closer, Andrew Miller, on the DL with a strained forearm on Wednesday, but they don't figure to miss a beat in terms of shutting down the ninth inning. Dellin Betances, who has been absurdly dominant in a setup role, now takes over the gig. In 32 1/3 innings this year, he has allowed one earned run on 11 hits while striking out 54. Yeesh.
* Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Ivan Nova reportedly touched 95 MPH in his first rehab start at Single-A on Monday. He's expected to be ready for the majors next week, and could provide a huge boost for the Yankees rotation if he regains his 2013 form.
* Ryan Zimmerman has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot for most of the season, and it has clearly taken a toll on his normally steady performance; he ranks 25th out of 25 qualified MLB first basemen with a 611 OPS. Now, Washington is finally going to give him some time off to try and get better. Zim was placed on the disabled list on Thursday, and will be out for at least a couple of weeks. Tyler Moore is in line for regular starts during his absence.
* Another big blow for the Cardinals: Matt Holliday landed on the DL with a Grade 2 quad strain suffered while chasing a fly ball. His injury isn't as bad as the one that struck Matt Adams, but Holliday figures to be sidelined for at least a month. Randal Grichuk now becomes the everyday starter in left field and offers solid value in deeper leagues thanks to his powerful bat.
* Eduardo Rodriguez shows no signs of slowing down in Boston. He held the Orioles to three hits over six scoreless innings in his third MLB start on Tuesday, and has now allowed only one run in 20 2/3 innings to start his career. He's still available in some leagues but is getting snatched up quickly.
* Shane Greene went 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in his first three starts for the Tigers this year, but in the following 10 starts he went 1-5 with an 8.10 ERA. The Tigers finally decided they'd seen enough and shipped the right-hander to Triple-A on Friday. Lefty Kyle Ryan takes over Greene's spot in the rotation.
* Zack Cozart is done for the season after tearing multiple ligaments in his knee while trying to beat out an infield single on Wednesday. It's a shame because the shortstop was performing quite well with nine homers and a 769 OPS. The Reds, 11 games out of first place, now seem more likely than ever to start selling off pieces that don't fit into their long-term plan. Johnny Cueto would be at the top of that list.
* San Diego shipped Jedd Gyorko and his 593 OPS to Triple-A on Wednesday. His numbers look disturbingly similar to the ugly ones he posted last year following an impressive rookie campaign that earned him a hefty contract extension.
The Padres owe Gyorko $33 million in guaranteed money over the next four years, so they're undoubtedly hoping the 26-year-old can get straightened out in the minors and return quickly. In the meantime, Cory Spangenberg will continue to man second base.
* Scooter Gennett batted .307 with an 848 OPS in 17 games at Triple-A after being demoted by the Brewers last month, and was recalled this week. Although he hit well at Colorado Springs, the second baseman drew only four walks in 79 plate appearances, so we're not sold that that he has overcome his plate discipline issues.